This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to Oxford University, UCL, University of Edinburgh, University of Bristol and University of Sheffield for Biomedical Sciences.
In ‘An Anthropologist on Mars’, Sacks describes the strange yet wonderful capabilities of the human mind to make radical – or as he describes, ‘creative’ – changes and adaptations when exposed to neurological diseases. However, these workings are not limited to cases such as autism but also a wider spectrum of diseases.The intricacies and design of the human brain and anatomy complements my deep interest in the world of miniscule biological molecules and their chemical interactions in our body systems and functions. Thus, I am driven to pursue a degree in Biomedical Sciences.
The ability to harness these creative talents in regenerative medicine to induce pluripotency in somatic cells using chemical transcription factors is an exciting alternative that avoids the ethical and immune rejection problems with using embryonic stem cells. I believe these developments will lead us one step closer to bioprinting human organs and towards developing new cures and treatments for diseases such as Motor Neurone Disease. MND is a disease of particular interest to me because it has afflicted my grandfather. Through further reading, I learned about the ability of stem cell-derived neurons and cells to repair or replace degenerated neurons as well as engage in neuroprotection.
Another possible mechanism of this protective effect is the secretion of exosomes whose contents are anti-apoptotic. I was first introduced to apoptosis in an article from the Biological Sciences Review which highlighted its potential role in combating cancer. Furthermore, our knowledge about this mechanism of programmed cell suicide stemmed from the study of a nematode worm which serves to prove the importance of learning with an open approach and insatiable curiosity. Discovering the link between my areas of research solidified my interest in the diverse study of biomedical sciences because I am motivated to learn to discover and build even more bridges of knowledge.
My shadowing experience with University Malaya Medical Center’s Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Lab was enriching as I gained a firmer understanding of stem cells and their characteristics through observing scientific procedures such as tissue culture preparation. Through shadowing an orthopaedic surgeon, I was also given an invaluable opportunity to learn about the alternative use of tissue engineering to culture grafts for ligament growth in ACL reconstruction surgery. I also feel I am making a good start at linking aspects of my A-level Biology knowledge with their industrial applications such as the use of monoclonal antibodies in flow cytometry. During an internship at a chemical testing laboratory, I observed and conducted hands-on tests for parameters such as the presence of E.coli or Ammoniacal Nitrogen which enabled me to develop practical chemistry skills. Both experiences gave me an insight into lab work as I was able to engage with professors, researchers and lab technicians. I aspire to emulate their eye-for-detail, patience and determination when I embark on this academic pathway.
Building a biogas generator with fellow students in the STEM Symposium Club offered me a great opportunity to learn about the chemical pathways involved in the anaerobic decomposition of organic waste by bacteria, while also applying problem-solving skills to troubleshoot the system for hazards such as gas leaks. The experience led me to strive to take an interdisciplinary approach when driving progress through innovation.
Through leading the Interact Club and Prefectorial Board, I create opportunities to help the ill or underprivileged. I aspire to be a part of a dedicated team of scientists who work towards medical solutions – particularly in the field of regenerative medicine because I believe it is where the creative potential of the human body is yet to be fully realised. To provide me with a solid foundation to take up this thrilling challenge, I am committed to pursue Biomedical Sciences.
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